More than 150,000 troops serving overseas will spend this holiday season away from their families. The non-profit Cell Phones for Soldiers group is calling on all Americans to support these brave men and women by donating unused cell phones. Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to collect over 25,000 cell phones during the month of December to help keep troops connected with their families.
"The holiday season is an especially lonesome time for soldiers abroad, and for their families at home," says Brittany Bergquist, Cell Phones for Soldiers co-founder. "We're asking Americans to make a small sacrifice of support by donating their unused cell phones, to help provide soldiers with a much-needed connection to their loved ones for the holidays."
Cell Phones for Soldiers is inviting Americans to show their support in one of three ways:
-- Individuals are invited to donate their cell phones by downloading a
prepaid shipping label from http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, or to
locate a local collection site in their area
-- Existing collection sites are invited to download a Cell Phones for
Soldiers sign from http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com for display in
-- Businesses and grassroots organizations are invited to start their own
collection drive, and can visit http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com
for collection tips, and instructions for prepaid shipping of collected
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist from Norwell, Mass., with $21 of their own money. Since then, the registered 501c3 non-profit organization has raised almost $1 million in donations and distributed more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.
"We have been overwhelmed by the generous support of thousands of Americans who have helped our troops speak with their loved ones," says the teens' father, Bob Bergquist. "However the need for support keeps growing as more soldiers are sent to the Middle East or are asked to serve extended tours of duty."
Through increased fundraising efforts, the Bergquist family hopes to raise more than $9 million in the next five years to fund new programs, such as providing video phones and prepaid service to allow soldiers abroad to see their families on a regular basis.
Phones donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers are sent to Michigan-based ReCellular, which pays up to $50 for each donated phone -- enough to provide twenty-five hours of calling cards to soldiers abroad.
Approximately half of the phones ReCellular processes are reconditioned and resold to wholesale companies in over 40 countries around the world. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled to reclaim materials, including:
-- Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
-- Copper wiring from phone chargers
-- Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs
-- Plastic from phone cases and accessories
About Cell Phones for Soldiers:
Cell Phones for Soldiers was created by Brittany & Robbie Bergquist of Norwell MA. After reading a story about a soldier who ran up a huge phone bill calling home from Iraq, these two teenagers decided to help out. They started by opening an account with $21.00 of their own money. They are collecting cash donations and old cell phones. The cell phones are recycled for cash and the proceeds are used to buy prepaid calling cards for our soldiers serving in the Middle East. Cell Phones For Soldiers is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their efforts have motivated people and businesses around the country to donate to this worthy cause. Their goal is to provide every U.S. soldier with a way to call home for free. For more information, please visit http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com